Nyamuragira, a large shield volcano similar to Mauna Loa on Hawai'i, is one of Africa's most active volcanoes. Every few years, it produces eruptions often from radial fissures emitting lava fountains and large, fluid lava flows travelling many kilometers into the scarsely populated area of tropical forest and farmland surrounding it.
Shield volcano 3058 m / 10,033 ft
DRCongo, -1.41°S / 29.2°E Current status: minor activity or eruption warning (3 out of 5)
Nyamuragira webcams / live data Nyamuragira volcano books Nyamuragira volcano eruptions:
1865, 1882, 1894, 1896, 1899, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1906(?), 1907, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912-13, 1920, 1921-38, 1938-40, 1948, 1951, 1951-52, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1967, 1971, 1976-77, 1980, 1981-82, 1984, 1986, 1987-88, 1989, 1991-93, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2011 (6 Nov) - March 2012, 2014-16 (summit lava lake) Typical eruption style: Large effusive eruptions (Hawaiian style)
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An active lava lake has returned to one of the summit pit craters in the caldera of Nyamuragira volcano. ...more
Since December 2016, the thermal signal from the volcano has become stronger and more consistent with such activity and both high-res satellite images and an unconfirmed photo taken on 26 Jan this year show the activity.
Nyamuragira's pit crater with a small lava lake observed on 27 April 2016; volcanologist Sebastien Valade takes thermal measurements from the rim. (Image: MONUSCO via Culture Volcan)
A small lava lake has reappeared in April, it seems. An expedition by staff of the Goma volcano observatory and MONUSCO observed a small lava pond present in the inner pit during 27 April. ...more
The volcano had suffered strong deflation during the large fissure eruption on the NE flank during end of 2011-early 2012, which had effectively drained magma from the central conduits. The re-filling of of the central reservoirs began gradually afterwards and resulted in the formation of a new lava lake that appeared some time afterwards and had been observed repeatedly between 2014 and early 2016. According to the limited information available, it seems that it suddenly disappeared in late March 2016 or early April, but now it has at least partially reappeared. [less]
View into Nyamulagira's pit crater on 6 April 2016 (image: OVG / UN via Culture Volcan)
The lava lake at the bottom of the inner pit in the volcano's summit caldera has recently disappeared, a recent survey by scientist from the Goma volcano observatory (OVG) and UN showed. ...more
It is not known when exactly this happened and how, but the thermal signal stops abruptly around 1 April, suggesting that the lake, which had appeared during 2014, drained quickly at around this date. During their overflight on 6 April, the group of scientists from OVG, UN and the Second University of Naples around D. Tedesco only saw an incandescent vent, releasing a jet of hot gasses, in the place of the lava lake. What exactly caused the disappearance of the lava lake and where the lava it contained went, is subject to speculation:
The lava lake at the summit of Nyamuragira volcano in DR Congo.Photo: Benoit Smets
For the first time in 75 years, a new lava lake appeared on some of Africa’s most active stratovolcanoes: Mount Nyamuragira in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The neighbouring volcanoes of Nyamugira and Nyiragongo are both part of the Virunga volcanic chain in the East African Rift, situated along DR Congo's border with Rwanda. They are famous as two of the few volcanoes on Earth that have sustained lava lakes for several decades. The previous lava lake at Nyamuragira emptied in 1938 as its lava poured out of the summit and flowed more than 30 kilometres down to Lake Kivu. The new lava lake seems to have formed at the bottom of the 500 m deep crater that was left behind by this 1938 lava flood. ...more
Nyamuragira’s last eruption started in November 2011 and ended in March 2012 by the partial emptying of the magma chamber through the effusion of large lava flows. This eventually resulted in the collapse of the pit crater, an event after which the magma is likely forced to follow a new route higher up to the volcano’s summit. Such reconstruction of the volcano’s plumbing system with transport of magma higher in the volcano’s cone could trigger the formation of a lava lake. Nyamuragira’s past eruptions all seem to follow a typical eruptive cycle of lava being progressively emitted from the volcano’s base to its summit, ending in the formation of a lava lake.
A satellite view of lava lakes and gas plumes from Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo volcanoes. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory
Time series of monthly SO2 amounts detected near Nyamuragira volcano. Images framed in red represent the most recenteruption. Comparison between SO2 emissions registered before and after this eruption clearly show elevated amounts of SO2 gas after the eruption. Image: Robin Campion
MODIS hot spots at Nyiragongo but not at Nyamuragira (center) (MODVOLC, Univ. Hawaii)
It is uncertain whether the eruption at Nyamuragira still continues, i.e. whether the new lava lake detected in July still exists. ...more
The thermal signal associated with this lava lake has disappeared during the past days. Only a relatively weak gas plume is still visible on satellite imagery. No recent ground observations seem to be available to tell what is actually occurring at the large brother of Nyiragongo (which continues to have a very large and active lava lake in its summit crater). [less]
SO2 plume over Nyiragongo / Nyamuragira volcanoes (NOAA)
The new eruption continues in the form of a lava lake in the summit caldera. No evidence of lava flowing on the flanks of the giant volcano is availabe. ...more
Thermal satellite data show the hot spot at the summit and a large SO2 plume from both Nyamuragira and neighboring Nyiragongo, which also has a (very active) lava lake, are evidence of this. Unfortunately, the area of both volcanoes is still unsafe to travel to.
MODIS hot spots at Nyiragongo / Nyamuragira volcanoes (MODVOLC, Univ. Hawaii)
This satellite image from 30 June shows lava lakes and gas plumes from Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo Volcanoes. Landsat 8 image, published by NASA Earth Observatory
A new eruption is occurring at the volcano. A lava lake has appeared in the main pit inside its summit caldera, but so far, reports of lava flows (presumably from flank vents) on the northern slope of Nyamuragira could not be verified. ...more
A recent Landsat satellite image shows the new lava lake, and thermal anomalies as well as increased SO2 concentrations above the close-by Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira have been detected over the past days. Nyamuragira (also spelled Nyamulagira) volcano, located just north of the Congolese city of Goma, near the border with Rwanda, is a large basaltic shield volcano and one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It erupts on average every 2 years - the last one was in 2012. [less]
Degassing from a crater of Nyamuragira (source: Julien Paluku / Twitter: pic.twitter.com/oKmCMMrkVX)
News started to spread on twitter and other media that a new eruption of the volcano started today, including pictures from the 2010 eruption as (false) evidence. ...more
An overflight today by members of Nord-Kivu's government showed only intense degassing from a pit crater (but no lava erupting), although they suggested that "an eruption is imminent". While it is difficult to judge the situation from the current sources available, it seems that the eruption reports are a case of rumor spreading faster than actual evidence. [less]
MODIS hot spot at Nyamuragia (single spot in center) and Nyiragongo (large spot bottom) volcanoes (ModVolc, Univ. Hawaii)
No confirmation whether a new eruption at the volcano has started is available yet, but MODIS satellite data show a thermal hot spot near the NE rim of the summit caldera and a strong SO2 plume is being detected coming from the area. ...more
However the latter could be entirely be coming from neighboring Nyiragongo volcano with its large active lava lake, so the situation remains unclear.
SO2 plume from Nyiragongo and possibly Nyamuragira volcanoes (NOAA)
According to local news, a seismic crisis is under way at the volcano and the volcano observatory in Goma thinks that a new eruption in coming days or weeks is likely. ...more
"The eruption of Nyamulagira will have no impact on the famous volcano Nyiragongo, whose activity is in a normal state," said Kaco Karume, member of the Volcanic Observatory of Goma (OVG). Nyamuragira (also spelled Nyamulagira) volcano is located 22 km north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. It erupts on average every 2 years. Its last eruption was in late 2011-early 2012. [less]
NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat 8 data from the USGS Global Visualization Viewer. Caption by Robert Simmon.
Recent NASA satellite images from 11 June 2013 show a thick steam and gas plume rising from a pit crater in the summit caldera of Nyamuragira volcano. No evidence of lava close to the surface was found, while the lava lake in neighboring Nyiragongo remains well active and visible on the same images. ...more
Nyamuragira's plume was rich in water vapor — which condenses rapidly in the humid tropical air — and sulfur dioxide, which lends a blue tint in natural-color satellite imagery. Carbon dioxide, fluorine, and chlorine gas are also found in Nyamuragira lavas and likely present in the gas plume. Located near the eastern boundary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nyamuragira is one of Africa’s most active volcanoes.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat 8 data from the USGS Global Visualization Viewer. Caption by Robert Simmon.
Nyamuragira volcano in the DR Congo might be forming a new lava lake in its summit caldera. ...more
The volcano's last eruption from the Kimanura fissure NE of the summit caldera seems to have ended by now. Until early to mid March, a lava lake was observed in the eastern vent and a strong heat source could be detected on satellite imagery, but has now disappeared. Seismic explosion signals from a source under the summit were noted on 24 February from the summit crater and overflights showed increased degassing from the central pit, which contained a lava lake until 1940. This activity increased in April and a strong SO2 odor from this area suggests the presence of near-surface magma. Scientists and the park rangers are speculating about the possibility that a new lava lake in the summit crater might be about to form. [less]
NASA image of the lava flows from the eruption taken on 23 Jan 2012.
During our recent expedition, we visited Nyamuragira's ongoing eruption during 22-25 January, and found that the eruption is still going on strongly, but somewhat less intense than during the first 1-2 weeks in January. ...more
The second vent complex, which had started to form at the NE end of the eruptive fissure in late Dec or early Jan with about one week of constant fountaining, consists of probably 3 coalescent cones. The middle and largest of them contained a crater filled with boiling lava, i.e. a small lava lake, which was strongly spattering every few seconds. The lava lake itself was not visible, but could be inferred from the strong glow and the hissing degassing noise of exploding gas bubbles that ejected liquid spatter bombs in all directions. [less]
Lava fountain from Nyamuragira during our tour on 8 Jan 2012
During expedition to Nyiragongo in Jan 2012, we undertook a side trip to see Nyamuragira still in eruption. Lorraine sent us the following impressions of impressive lava fountains from the new vent (taken 8 Jan).
As our group who just came back reports (see last post below), the eruption of Nyamuragira seems to have intensified again. ...more
We are planning an expedition to see this eruption in the next week. If you are interested, please get in touch with us as soon as possible! Planned tour date: 21 Jan (arrival in Kigali) - 25 Jan (back to Kigali) [less]
The VolcanoDiscovery group at the erupting flank cone of Nyamuragira volcano (8 Jan 2012)
The eruption at Nyamuragira volcano (DR Congo) continues with lava fountains 50-150 m high, ejections of incandescent bombs reaching up to 600 m, and the emission of an aa lava flow from the second (eastern) vent. ...more
Our expedition group just returned from a visit to the area on 8 Jan and a series of spectacular images and videos is now available.
Lava fountains from Nyamuragira volcano (8 Jan 2012)
Lava fountain and the active lava flow emerging from the breach of the erupting flank cone of Nyamuragira volcano (8 Jan 2012)
NASA satellite image of the eruption area of Nyamuragira taken on 3 Jan 2012
To the delight of our expedition group heading towards Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo tomorrow, the lava flows from Nyamuragira are still active. NASA Earth Observatory has released spectacular images from 3 January showing the vast lava flows from Nyamuragira volcano's current eruption. ...more
Nyamuragira (also spelled Nyamulagira), is a massive basaltic shield volcano located north of Goma (DR Congo) and near the other active volcano, Nyiragongo, famous for its permanent lava lake. Nyamuragira is one of Africa's largest and most active volcanoes. Its current eruption started in November 2012 from a flank vent located in an uninhabited area about 10 km ENE side of the volcano's summit.
False-color image showing Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcano (3 Jan 2012)
The sulfur dioxide plumes from Nyiragongo volcano (b) and Nyamuragira volcano (t), both in eruption, on 23 Dec 2012 (NOAA)
The flank eruption of Nyamuragira volcano north of Goma city, DRCongo, which had started in early November, is still going on, although at much smaller intensity than during the first weeks. ...more
A significant plume of sulfur dioxide and a thermal anomaly are visible on satellite images, indicating that there is still effusion of lava, probably accompanied by strombolian activity at the new vent. [less]
The eruption at Nyamuragira, stated to be the "largest one in 100 years" in the media (arguably, perhaps it is rather one of the most accessible and beautiful ones), continues into the second week. The Virunga National Park in Goma offers guided overnight treks to see the eruption of the volcano from close. ...more
It seems that lava fountains are still active and reach 200-300 m height and have already built up a sizable, probably ca. 100 m high flank cone.
The new eruption of Nyamuragira volcano on day 2 is putting on a spectacular show, producing tall lava fountains (a few 100 m high) that can be seen shooting out of the main vent and feeding a lava flow. A small elongated cone, perhaps already as much as 50-100 m high, has already formed around the vent. ...more
A video posted by the National Park can be seen at: YouTube. [less]
The new fissure eruption of Nyamuragira on the evening of 6 Nov (photo: Virunga National Park)
Nyamuragira volcano in the DRCongo started to erupt last night as park rangers of the Virunga National Park report on facebook. Nyamuragira is a large shield volcano north of Nyiragongo volcano near Goma town and belongs to the Virunga National Park. ...more
Its eruptions produce curtains of fire and large lava flows, which normally are no harm to inhabited areas as the volcano is very remote. In recent years, it has been almost impossible to access due to the presence of armed guerrilla troops hiding in this area. [less]
Nyamuragira's eruption continues, but the lava output seems to decline. After 5 days, the new lava flows have traveled 21 kilometers and approached the road from Goma to Sae within 7 km. If the eruption continues, the flows may be able to cut the road. ...more
Nyamuragira volcano (often also spelled Nyamulariga) erupted on Saturday 2nd January. The eruption was located on a fissure on the E flank where violent lava fountains from 4 vents along a new fissure were feeding a new large lava flow advancing towards the Goma-Sake road. Due to armed rebels hiding in the area, access to the eruption is not safely possible.
Africa's two most active volcanoes might erupt soon, adding to the conflict in the East Kivu region. In an interview reported in the German newspaper "Die Welt" scientist from Goma's volcano observatory are warning about possible impending eruptions of both Nyiamuragira and Nyiragongo. ...more
Although working and living conditions in Goma are extremely difficult, to say the least, the scientist are still trying theri best to monitor both volcanoes. Head of the observatory, Kasereka Mahinda, is convinced that an eruption from Nyimuragira is going to happen soon - the volcano tends to erupt on average every 1-2 years and the last one was in late 2006, paired by increased seismicity. Also Nyiragongo volcano, which destroyed the centre of Goma in 2002 with a large flank eruption, is threatening to erupt. Mahinda points out that often both volcanoes are erupting at the same time. During the last visit of the scientists to Nyiragongo's crater in October a noticeable rise in the magma level of the lava lake was observed. Much of the observatory's monitoring equipment has been looted, Mahinda explains, making more detailed analyses impossible, and there seems to be no way to reinstall. [less]
As the Goma Volcano Observatory reports, the eruption at Nyiamuragira that had started on 27 November is probably close to its end. Lava emission from the eruptive fissure has been decreasing to a very low level. Due to the difficulty to access the eruption site because of hostile militant groups in the area, exact observations other than by overflights are near impossible.
Map of Nyamuragira volcano and the new eruption site (courtesy of GVO)
The eruption at Nyamuragira volcano continues. Protected by military from the OCHA and MONUC missions, scientist from OVG could overfly and visit the eruption area on 29 Nov. Their report (kindly provided by Kasereka Mahinda, director of OVG, and other staff at OVG), is summarized: The location of the eruptive fissure is between the vents of Nyamuragira's eruptions in 1986 (Kitazungurwa: KT) and 2001 (Amani: AM). During the first day of the eruption, lava flows have already travelled 10 km (!) towards the west. If the eruption continues, the flow is likely to cut the major E-W artery road from Sake to Goma lifeline. Because of the important production of toxic ash from the lava fountains, GVO warns the population of the possibility of acid rain, ash-contaminated water and crops. During its eruption in 2000, 17 people were reported killed because of drinking from ash-continaminated water sources, as well as a large number of failed pregnancies. In addition, large damage was afflicted to crops and lifestock.
Press photo taken on November 28, 2006, showing a large fissure and lava fountains several hundred meters high during the first day of Nyamuragira's eruption. (photo released by REUTERS/MONUC-United Nations/Handout)
One of the world's largest volcanoes, mighty Nyamuragira (also spelled Nyamulagira) in eastern Congo, is in eruption again. The eruption began around 10 pm local time on Monday, 27 Nov. 2006 as press reports.Observation of the eruption is difficult because of the unrest in the region. The area around Nyamuragira is difficult to access and home to a number of armed rebel troops notoriously opposing the government army. The volcano, notorious for its fluid lava, last erupted in 2002 and 2004, sending lava flows into mostly uninhabited forest and farm land.
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